Harn Homestead Offers Firsthand Experience of Oklahoma's Territorial Days

May 10, 2019

Today, visitors can experience firsthand what life was like in Territorial Oklahoma by visiting the Harn Homestead and 1889ers Museum. In fact, every year more than 15,000 children participate in the museum’s hands-on educational programming. The Harn House Located close to the State Capitol at 1721 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City, the William Fremont Harn Gardens, popularly known as the Harn Homestead, sits on 9.4 acres. The property now holds seven historic buildings, the first of which was a Victorian home built in 1904 by William Fremont Harn for his wife, Alice Moores Harn, when she agreed to make Oklahoma their permanent home. In addition to those who visit this site every year for educational purposes, another 8,000 visit the site for a tour of this historic house. Other Buildings Additional buildings on the site include a one-room territorial schoolhouse that was originally located in Crescent and was moved to the Harn Homestead in 1988. Its desks and chalkboard are original, while an authentic desk owned by Will Rogers is used for the teacher’s desk. Children who visit the schoolhouse are allowed to participate in what would’ve been a normal school day and then play old-fashioned outdoor games. In 1987 the Shinn Barn was moved from its original location to the Harn Homestead Museum. It contains corn grinders, shellers and a stone grinder, all of which are used with educational programming. The west entrance to the barn is open to both general admission and field trips. Children see what it would have been like to live there in the 1800s by doing chores, like gathering eggs or raking the straw, they can even try their hands at milking two model cows. A farmhouse that was moved onto the property in 1910 was originally home to the family of George Upton Harn, William Fremont Harn’s nephew. George and his family served as caretakers of the property. Today, the farmhouse, which offers such hands-on experiences for children as old-fashioned toys, games, and books, as well as dress-up clothes and play kitchen items, is open for both general admission and field trips. History Reenacted Every year around April 22 a Land Run re-enactment is held at the Harn Homestead. Up to 300 students participate. In the process they learn how to pack a wagon, build a basic structure and make rope. They also play old fashioned outdoor games and eat a picnic lunch. How it All Started The Harns first came to Oklahoma in 1891 when President Benjamin Harrison named Mr. Harn a federal land agent to settle disputes in Oklahoma Territory concerning the Land Run of 1889. The Harn Homestead is located on what remains of the 160 acres that the Harns purchased from someone who acquired the land during the Land Run itself. Following the couple’s deaths, Mrs. Harn’s niece, Florence Wilson, inherited the house and property and lived there until 1967. She deeded it to the City of Oklahoma City for a museum. Today it operates as a non-profit historic museum and is available for private parties, as well as corporate and civic events, in addition to field trips. It is open to the general public Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Entry is $7 for adults and $5 for children, seniors and the military. Admission for children under three is free. Arrangements for groups of 20 or more can be made by calling 405-235-4058.
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